5420 Jazz


Hello everyone! I have a 5420T and it is really one of the best guitars that I have ever owned and I have been playing for 54 years, so that really says something! The pickups work great for just about everything but solo jazz chording. I have an ES 175 with Gibson 57 classics but I really only want to take one guitar to the job and the 5420 really plays good. Is there any type filtertron pickup that would get me any closer to the Gibson P.A.F. sound on the neck pickup?


The short answer is no; PAF's and Filters are sort of apples and oranges. The darkest Filter'tron-type pup is maybe the TV Jones Powertron which I've heard describes as halfway between a Filter and a PAF.

You could probably get one of the boutique winders to make you a PAF-type pup in a Filter'tron case. Maybe one of them already has this??


What specifically do you not like about the neck pickup on the 5420? What is it that it does/doesn't do that you don't like?

Most "Jazz" pickups sound too dark and muddy for me. The Filtertrons are a brighter, more defined sound than the Gibson pickups although I do like the Duncan Seth Lover. I think that the power'tron may be what you are looking for. That was designed to be closer to a PAF style sound. It is slightly hotter than the standard 'tron. But it retains much of the definition and clarity of a filter'tron.


One time I played the '59 reissue Chet Country Gentleman with a Supertron neck pickup. I think that the Supertron is your best bet.



Check the TVJones.com site and you might find something that works for you. Also, try calling him.


Depends on what you consider the classic "jazz" tone.

I'm with Lee: SuperTron. Dial back the tone to the edge of intelligibility. Roll the volume down a little. Jazz out.


Since you've been playing quite a while. I'm guessing you would like to sound like Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, and Oscar Moore, among others.

Proteus reminds me that on the tone switch circuit Gretsch's, a little roll back on the volume control gets you a bit closer (assuming the tone switch is in the neutral/center postion).

I'm still thinking SuperTron.



Gretschbuckers. They were the standard pickups on the 5120 (the predecessor to the 5420) and many folks here complained they sounded too much like Gibson pickups. To my ears, they are still brighter than Gibson/Epiphone style humbuckers, but they are easier to dial in the Joe Pass/Wes Montgomery/Kenny Burrell type of tone than any flavor of Gretsch's 'Tron pickups.

The good news is that so many folks replaced them, you can probably find one very cheap, so you won't be risking much if it doesn't make your ears happy.


I'll soon have a pair ripped loose - from the Peerless Carlo Robelli that used the same hardware. And yes, they're warm and fat. But they don't fit FilterTron holes.


I had an early 5420 with upgraded p/us - HS filtertrons. Not the ceramic magnet filters, the later ones with design input from TV Jones. Anyway, those p/us were beautiful, perfect for that guitar. Just as good as any of the best lower wind humbuckers available. And though I didn't play jazz at the time, I now wish I still had that guitar. Cause they would sound so good for jazz.


Thanks guys for all your input. The master volume on this particular model doesn't have any treble roll off so I think I will rewire it so when you lower the master volume it will roll off some of the treble. If that doesn't do it I think I will try something from TV Jones. Thanks again for all the great input.

Register Sign in to join the conversation